My husband and I are all kinds of people. We’re sarcastic people; we’re people who eat our steak medium rare; we’re red wine people; we’re RV people. What we are not is dog people. Before you hit me with the “never trust a person who doesn’t love children or dogs!” know that we’re still good people. We both had dogs growing up—my parents still have Bailey, the dog we got when I was in high school. We don’t hate animals or snarl at puppies. We just like to travel at a moment’s notice and have carpets without dog hair on them. We like to watch House of Cards quietly on the couch without a dog’s wet nose getting shoved between us. Our kids are nervous around dogs and have bad habits of nervously holding their hands six inches above a dog’s face, which causes the dog to jump up, which causes our kids to freak the freak out.
But two months ago, that all changed.
My husband came home from a work trip thinking of a conversation he’d had with a colleague. “You know,” he said, “if we had a dog we’d be a lot safer. Burglars don’t break into houses with dogs in them.” I knew he was right, and the kids were over-the-moon excited to think of having a dog, quickly forgetting their fears. I expressed concerns over living in a house made of dog hair, and so we decided to look for a labradoodle. Part poodle, part labrador retriever, these dogs are great family dogs and hypoallergenic—our dream dog! So the search for the Family Dog began.
Only, we ran into a few problems. First, labradoodles are a popular breed and not very easy to find. In our search, we could only find puppies, and the cheapest one we could find ran us just under $2000, which was about 200 times more than I was willing to spend on a dog. Also, I know absolutely nothing about training a puppy, nor do I have the patience to start learning (I barely mastered training baby humans). Although I only work part time, we are on the go enough that I don’t have free days to devote to staying at home with a puppy.
Frustrated, we tabled the dog plan to get through the end of the school year, and I took the kids to Sharkey’s for haircuts while my husband was out of town. We happened to be next to a PetSmart that was hosting an adoption event and, looking to kill some time, went in to peek at the animals. We oohed and aahed over the sweet puppies in their crates and then literally bumped into a lady walking a medium-sized, brown and white, boxer-ish looking dog around the store. “This is Daisy,” said her foster mom. We squatted down to pet Daisy, who immediately sat in my lap. She licked the kids and seemed oblivious to the chaos around her (an adoption event is pretty crazy in addition to the already crazy PetSmart on a Saturday), never barking or acting like she cared about the animals sniffing her and humans wanting to pet her.
The rest, as they say, is history. There was the going home and talking nonstop to my husband about this sweet older dog, the weekend trial period, the application to the Helotes Humane society, and the many, many questions to Daisy’s foster mom. But she’s officially part of our family now, despite several growing pains along the way. Just like any family member, she’s not perfect. She got nervous one day and chewed the windowsill off while we were gone, and her preferred way of walking on a leash is obsessively pulling.
But just like any other family member, we can’t imagine our lives without her—wet nose, hairy carpet, and all.